Dear Golfer,

This month we turn our attention to nine-hole rounds of golf and remind you how to obtain – and allocate strokes on – your nine-hole Course Handicap.

Playing nine holes of golf

Whether it is due to time constraints or personal preference, nine-hole rounds – and nine-hole competitions – are becoming increasingly popular globally. As such, nine-hole scores have become an important part of the handicap calculation.

On most courses, one nine plays harder than the other nine. On some courses, there can even be quite a significant difference in the degree of difficulty. Fortunately, during the lead-up to the launch of the World Handicap System in 2020, we rated all courses using the World Handicap Course Rating System. This means that we have accurate Course- and Slope Ratings of each nine of all courses, and a player who plays nine holes at these courses could have a different Course Handicap depending on which nine he or she chooses to play.

Example: At Randpark Firethorn, the par-72 course where the 2019 SA Open was played, the White course for Men has a CR/SR of 36.0/132 for the front nine and 37.7/139 for the back nine, with an overall rating of 73.8/136. So the 18-hole Course Rating is 73.8/136, but it is different by 1.7 shots on each nine and the Slope Rating varies by 7.

You can find the Course- and Slope Ratings for your home course and all other courses on the HNA system here.

Your 9-Hole Course Handicap

You will find that your Course Handicap for nine holes is much lower than for 18 holes. This is because the nine-hole Course Handicap is actually an indication of how many strokes you receive for the nine holes to be played.

You will need to allocate the strokes according to your 9-Hole Course Handicap. For example, if you have a 9-Hole CH of 7, then you would stroke on the lowest 7 strokes (ie. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11 & 13) and allow yourself a single stroke on each of those holes.

If you have a CH that’s higher than 9 – say, 12 – then you will double stroke on the three holes with the lowest strokes (ie. 1, 3 & 5) and receive a single stroke on each of the other holes. If you have a CH that’s higher than 18 – say, 20 – then you’ll triple stroke on the two holes with the lowest strokes (ie. 1 & 3) and receive two strokes on each of the other holes.

What to do when playing nine holes

When you are playing nine holes, you first need to look up your 9-hole Course Handicap. You do this in the same way that you currently look up your 18-hole Course Handicap: on the HNA phone App, handicap terminal, or from the Club System or a Course Handicap Chart at the course.

Your 9-hole Course Handicap is what you will play off for the nine you elect to play and you will use it to enter your Adjusted Gross Score for the nine holes (adjusted for the maximum score of Net Double Bogey allowed on any hole).

When you then enter this 9-hole Adjusted Gross Score into the handicap system, it will automatically be converted into an 18-hole score (and thereafter a differential) by adding par for the nine played, plus your handicap strokes for the nine, plus one additional stroke. Fifty percent of the playing conditions calculation (PCC) for the day is also applied.

If you are not sure about what to enter for your handicap score, you can enter your hole-by-hole scores on the App, terminal, or HNA website. The system will then adjust your scores for the maximum allowed on a hole, according to your Course Handicap, and enter your Adjusted Gross Score for you.


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